VUMS Cluster

Glossary of Terms

As a first step towards standardisation of user models, the VUMS cluster has defined a glossary of terms for supporting a common language. Its scope and context of usage is the adaptation of human-machine interfaces to the needs of the real user and the simulation of interaction between a human and a product in order to design the product.


Adaptive User Interface
User interfaces are adaptive if they can adapt their appearance and/or interaction behaviour to an individual user according to a user profile, device and context characteristics. In contrast to adaptable user interfaces, which are modified by a deliberate and conscious choice of a user, adaptive user interfaces automatically initiate and perform changes according to an updated user profile.
Application Model
An application model is a representation of the states, transitions and functions of the application.


Context Model
It is a representation of information that can be used to characterize the external environment of an entity. An entity is a person, a place, a device, or a product that is considered relevant to the interaction between a user and an application, including the user and applications themselves.


Device Model and Profile
A device model is a formal machine-readable representation of the features and capabilities of one or several physical components involved in user interaction. A device profile is an instantiation of a device model representing either a specific real device or a stereo type of devices.
It is important to carefully discriminate between user and device model as they are two kinds of models. Too often they are conflated together, with device properties sprinkled into user profiles and vice versa. The device model expresses capabilities of the device. A given device can be used by many different users and a given user could use different devices. By carefully separating the different functionalities of device modelling and user modelling in design scenarios it will be easier to enumerate the attributes for each model and from them develop the matching function and attributes of the adaptation process.


Environmental Model and Profile
An environmental model is a set of characteristics used to describe the environment where the user machine interaction is taking place. It includes all required contextual characteristics besides the user model, the interaction model, the device model, the product and related user tasks. An environmental profile is an instantiation of an environmental model representing either a specific real environment or a stereotype of environments.


Simulation is the process that enables the interaction of the virtual user with the application model within an artificial environment. The simulation can be real-time or off-line. Real-time simulation can be performed autonomously or manually, where the operator can interact with the environment VUMS – GUIDE, MyUI, VERITAS, VICON from a 1st- or 3rd person perspective. Accessibility assessment and evaluation can be performed automatically or subjectively by the operator.


User Agent
A user agent is any end user software (like browser, or other user interface component) that can retrieve and render application content and invoke requests to the user agent capabilities model to modify the application content.
User Agent Capabilities Model
A user agent capabilities model is a formal machine-readable representation of the capabilities of the user agent related to user interaction.
User Interaction Model
The user interaction model is a representation of the user interaction behaviour with an application. The user interaction model is maintained UI-agnostic, which means it is independent of the concrete format of user interface output- and input data. User Interaction model is often also referred to as abstract user interface model as it describes usually user interface objects which will be used for the presentation of the instances of navigation and which instances will be used for the presentation of the access elements. They are called abstract, because these descriptions are independent of the implementation of the real user interfaces.
User Interface Design Pattern
This is an approved user interface solution to a recurring design problem. User Interface Design has a formalized description. For the use in adaptive user interfaces, design patterns have a representation in form of reusable software components which can be put together to complete user interfaces during run-time.
User Model and Profile
An (abstract) user model is a set of user characteristics required to describe the user of a product. The characteristics are represented by variables. The user model is established by the declaration of these variables. It is formally described in a machine-readable and human-readable format. A user profile is an instantiation of a user model representing either a specific real user or a representative set of real users.
User Model/Profile Validation
User Model/Profile Validation',content:'Validation is the process to determine whether the model is an appropriate representation of the user for a specific application. If being mathematical it would require a statistical validation process. If the model is non-mathematical then it could be validated through qualitative processes. The type, process and metrics of validation should be standardized.


Virtual Instance
A virtual instance is a representation of a user, environment, device etc. based on a profile. The virtual instance exists in a computer memory during the run time of an application.